Beach house in Sampieri

Beach house @ Sampieri

My first breakfast in Sicily, that’s espresso and almond milk granita eaten al fresco with a plate of fresh brioche buns.

Yo, I lived la dolce vita for exactly five days. Everyone kept asking why I was only there for such a short time. I DON’T KNOW?! Reality is cruel. In an alternate universe, if Americans had off all of August, I’d have stayed longer. Sicily is spectacular.

I flew from Dublin into Catania – there’s a direct flight! – and explored the city of Catania in the morning with my friend Lisa and her uncle Aldo before we drove to meet her aunt Mira at their beach house in Sampieri. I couldn’t get over Catania’s fresh produce at the market.

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

Post granita, we drove down to Sampieri. I had no idea where this was, and it’s basically this tiny beach town in the very southern spot of Sicily, across from Malta and Tunisia. It already sounds awesome, right? I thought so too. And then I arrived and saw THE VIEW of the Mediterranean. Their adorable cat. The hibiscus flowers. I was like, whoooooaaaaaa, sensory overload. This is all too cool.

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

Mira and Aldo’s house is also very artsy and I was essentially obsessed with everything, down to their hand-made raku ceramic towel-rod holders in the bathrooms and the mosaics on their walls.

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

Lisa and I slept here!

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

Shortly after arriving Mira, Lisa, and I went the beach AND to the market (love a double market day). I laughed at the pasta aisle at the grocery store: SO MUCH PASTA.

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

The next few days had a similar routine: wake up, read a little outside, drink espresso, maybe grab a granita, go to the beach.

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

Head home – 1:30ish – for a big lunch. (I’ve never eaten so well for lunches in my life.)

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

Then we’d relax and go on an afternoon excursions, gorgeous old cities like Scicli or Modica or places with ancient Roman ruins. I MEAN…and I’d usually eat gelato somewhere in there everyday. One afternoon, we also saw a proposal on the steps of a beautiful church. He had set up a little table on the steps outside, complete with flowers and wine. It was soooooo romantic.

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

*Lisa and I look so weird and creepy here – we are literally posing in a tomb that Aldo thought would make for a neat photo opportunity.

Then we’d have a late dinner and drink bitters with their friends – usually Sergio, who was absolutely hilarious, would stop by. Lisa would laugh because I was NOT used to staying up so late. I needed a few more days to get on the night owl routine! I think this explains why I have no dinner food photos? At all. And the dinners….oh the dinners. The creamy ricotta, salty olives, sweet tomatoes, pastas, grilled vegetables, and wine. The wine was homemade, as was the olive oil, so I’d pretty much drink wine at every meal and drizzle everything in this delectable oil which Aldo had in a barrel in the dining room.

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

On Sunday we went to the festival of St. Sebastiano, or what Lisa dubbed as the Naked Baby Festival. He’s the patron saint of Palazzolo Acreide. I can’t even describe this properly, and I could look up the actual religious description (but I don’t feel like it, or care to). It’s more fun to tell you how crazy it was as a bystander who knew nothing of what was going on – the church pretty much exploded with confetti for a full ten minutes and then people handed guys standing on a Jesus statue their naked babies to hold up in the air. Afterwards, we all went out for pasta and wine.

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

On my last night, there was a super moon. My camera couldn’t capture it’s amazingness – okay, lunar photography just continues to elude my photography skills even after I spent a good amount of time dragging tables and boxes and rocks out on the patio for height/camera stability and playing with a variety of ISO/aperture/shutter speeds – but I think you get the gist of its loveliness. Much like my blogging can’t really capture all the loveliness of Sicily.

Beach house @ Sampieri

Lisa’s aunt and uncle were the most incredible, sweetest, coolest hosts ever. It made me want to learn Italian and go back again and maybe never leave. I think Lisa’s onto something here!

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August around Burlington

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I was out late last night listening to a friend’s band play at Radio Bean (pic above of The Van Burens, so good!), so tonight I’m being a lazy thing on the couch at home, occasionally eating brownies and/or reorganizing the digital files on my hard-drive and phone. Woo! Some snippets from the past month around town.

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When I got back from Italy, it took about five days for me to see a blue sky. I documented it.

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Then the weather flipped and it got super hot in town. Ice cream break on a warm summer evening with a coworker and her ex-boyfriend’s dog, whom she still has a close relationship with:)

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Work meeting with another co-worker at the MOST BEAUTIFUL NEW COFFEE SHOP IN BURLINGTON, Scout & Co. I need to return and properly photobomb the place without appearing to be a weirdo. It’s like I left Vermont and walked into what I imagine Stockholm to look like when I’m inside. This will be my winter paradise place.

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Ooooh, I hosted a couple of cool cats. Some friends of my friend Liza were biking from Cape Cod to Montreal, and stayed over with me for a night. He made furniture, she was a barista. They both lived down in Austin, Texas. I loved them!

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Speaking of cool cats. He always flops over so I rub his belly when I get home.

August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont

I’m on a boat! We took over 100 students on a cruise on Lake Champlain at the end of our student leader training earlier this month. It was the one overcast day of the week – grrrrrr – but the sky still looked really beautiful.

August in Vermont

CURLY GIRL HAIR ENVY. Those are unreal. I creeped up on a student and asked her if I could take a picture and what she used on her hair.

August in Vermont

Then promptly bought the products. (Although my hair still didn’t curl as well as hers….)

August in Vermont

I also fell for Nars Heatwave in terms of beauty products this month. I’m not sure why I bought red lipstick? I never rock super red lips, and I have yet to wear it because it’s summer and I’m not into wearing make-up much in the summer anyway. BUT it’s this lovely matte red hue so when I feel the urge: game on.

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My little sister Allison is coming up to visit me this week. Squeal, I’m so excited! I got us tickets to see Future Islands at Higher Ground. Maybe this is my perfect Nars Heatwave moment?

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Hiking in the ADKs –> Fall is coming!

August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont

I was a little mopey when I got back to Vermont. Post-vacation blues. Some close friends moved – Jen actually left for an internship in Seattle when I was in Europe, tragic! (But she LOVES it there and must visit soon.) Anyway! I was feeling a little ‘meh’. But my dear friend Marissa was like, get over it, come to New York and let’s do some hiking. She lives about an hour away, across the lake in Plattsburgh, NY. I drove over early on Sunday morning for breakfast at her place, a paleo (she does Crossfit) meal of eggs, homemade turkey sausage, and half a peach. We hiked up Cascade and Porter in the Adirondacks, which took us about five hours total. It’s been years since I’ve been hiking in the ADKs, and it’s rockier and just different from the vibe of the trails in Vermont. It was LOVELY. And we had the best weather. And the coolest pooch. Marissa also brought her fiance’s dog, Hudson, who is so smart. He’s a legit hunting dog – with more degrees and a larger vocabulary than most human beings. Ha! We stopped for milkshakes from Stewart’s on the way home, and my trip ended with a stop-over at Target, where I happily filled my cart with totally random things that I didn’t need, and drove back home slap happy because that was an awesome day.

P.S. Lisa is asking about my Sicily blog post. It’s coming!
P.P.S. Marissa recently got engaged on a boat in Alaska this summer. and she’s MAKING her own wedding dress. That’s so badass. She’s so badass.

Posted in LIFE, OUTDOOR ADVENTURES, WEEKEND | 2 Comments

“Red Eyes”/The War on Drugs

Happy Monday! It’s the first day of school at UVM and I’ve got my weights class – jumping back on my workout bandwagon, woo! – starting in a few. But I’ve been playing this song “Red Eyes” from the band The War on Drugs the last few days, along with “Hero” from the Boyhood soundtrack.

What songs – or books! – are you loving lately? I went to the library today and the librarian told me to read The Light Between Oceans. I’ve had a few friends rave about it too.

Posted in MUSIC | 2 Comments

Boyhood!

Last night some friends and I went to watch Boyhood. A 3-hour movie on a work-day Wednesday. I, being totally behind on what’s even out at the theatres and still slightly jet lagged and busy with long work days actually initially protested and tried to vote to get ice cream and watch the sunset instead, but got vetoed.

I’M SO HAPPY I SAW THIS MOVIE! I can’t stop thinking about it, perhaps THE ULTIMATE coming-of-age story.

It was filmed over a span of 12 years in Texas, beginning when Mason Jr (played by Ellar Coltrane) was six years old and continuing until he was 18. Ethan Hawke (swoon) and Patricia Arquette (she never ages) play his parents. I read that the director, Richard Linklater, said the real star is time though.

It made me think of my past twelve years. Of all the voices and influences in our heads. Of the homophobia boys face in school. Of discovering our hobbies. Of the doldrums in life. Of moments in time. There’s a sweet sweet scene when the kids are little getting the new Harry Potter book. It’s so nostalgic and touching and the music is fantastic because let’s face it songs capture time better than really anything else. I read this review after seeing the film – which overall got rave reviews – but this critic was blasting the movie for starting out with Coldplay’s Yellow. Pffft. Duuuuuude, 12 years ago that song was on about three different of my mixed CDs. It’s perfect.

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Beach camping in Connemara.

Camping in Connemara

Hello! I’m home! The weather’s been utterly dreary in Vermont – raining and in the 60s – which is making me miss Sicily ON ANOTHER LEVEL. Yet on the other hand, it’s been nice for staying inside and slowing down. Y’all. I’m tired. 22 days of traveling – working, hiking, wandering, and 30 hours of traveling back from southern Sicily to northern Vermont – whew!

The other day I did yoga for the first time in like a month. It felt awesome, but now I’m SO sore. Besides walking, I really haven’t worked out in like 45 days. And last night I went to bed at 7:30 p.m. Haha! All worth it though! I had an awesome European vacation. Before traveling to Italy, I spent five days in Ireland catching up with my friend Eric and camping in Connemara.

I couldn’t have been a happier camper. There were loads of white sand beaches and wild (okay, maybe not wild) horses and really cute cats and lots of debriefing about Japan one year later!

Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara

Before heading off on our Connemara camping adventure, I went up to Eric’s grandparent’s beach cabin in Rush for a Sunday dinner. His grandparents – Fred and Olive (how I do love their names!) – have spent 58 summers there.

Camping in Connemara

It was much chillier than London, so I borrowed an Aran Island sweater for beach time/Tower exploration. This was Eric’s brother’s sweater and I liked it so much I bought the exact same one. Ha!

Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara

The tower watch was from Napoleonic times. There were a series of them along the coast that you could see only if you climbed to the top: surveillance before technology is totally wild. I loved it, although it was a wee bit scary getting down from the tower.

The next morning we headed out to Connemara, just north of Galway, which unbeknownst to me has Caribbean-like white sand beaches with turquoise waters. It’s stunning! The first day Eric and I just walked along the coastline to Omey Island and had lunch at a local pub. Across the street from the most beautiful horses……swoon.

Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara

We camped out at Clifden Eco Beach Camping and both LOVED the place. No plastic water bottles allowed, clean facilities, gorgeous beaches.

Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara

The next day we drove around the Connemara Loop and had lunch at a local pub before going hiking in the national park, up Diamond Hill.

Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara

We were tired afterwards: beer and cat time.

Camping in Connemara
Camping in Connemara

I hung out in Dublin for just a brief time the next morning before flying to Italy. Would have been great to stay longer! Like all my vacations, time moves too quickly. SLOW DOWN TIME! Back with Sicily pics soon.

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Ciao Sicily!

ciao sicilia!

 6:00 a.m. this morning I left Sicily (sob!) and caught a smokin’ view of Mt. Etna!

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